Kirtana Vallabhaneni

Kirtana Vallabhaneni was based at the Liverpool NIHR Pancreas Biomedical Research Unit where her project focused on the identification of two cell-surface proteins, CEA and CA19-9 within pancreatic cancer cells.

How did you get involved in the Nuffield Research Placements scheme and why did you want to take part in the programme?  I heard about Nuffield Research Placements through my school, who put pupils interested in the scheme in contact with the Nuffield Coordinator of our region.

What did you learn most from your placements experience? My placement gave me the chance to have the hands on experience of participating in research rather than just observing it. I think this was an invaluable tool in that it enhanced my understanding of the area of research.

What was it like exhibiting at the Big Bang?  Being judged was both a nerve-wracking but enjoyable experience, particularly when I was judged by the celebrity panel. I found the Big Bang Fair to be such a good experience. Having the opportunity to present my project to members of the public allowed me to develop my presentation skills.

How did it feel to be named as the Young Scientist of the Year 2012?  It was one of the most overwhelming yet brilliant experiences of my life.  I was so surprised when I was announced as the winner! It was such a great feeling, and has opened up so many opportunities for me.

What are your longer term plans and how did your placement experience affect these plans?  For a while, I have wanted to pursue a career in medicine, and my experience has definitely influenced me in that I would like to carry out medical research as part of career.